Break free of the stereotypes and you will break free. I knew nothing about Autism before I met my husband, so I was never told I 'couldn't' do things or couldn't expect our son to participate in events that other children participated in. I'm so glad I didn't listen to the nay-sayers...the success we've had has been incredible. You can socialize. You can introduce new foods. You can empower your child to do anything they want - the only hurdles are the ones you put up.
Living with Autism - and surviving.
How and Where to Start?
Why diversifying foods?
The first step is to STOP believing everything and START researching on your own. Everyone will tell you what to feed your child, what not to feed your child, what causes Autism, what doesn't cause Autism - Regardless of the how and why, it's up to you to figure out what works best for your child and family. Don't drastically change diets - not only is it stressful and can be expensive, but removing some food groups without medical necessity, can be harmful.
Our changes in diet started with adding items. When a child eats nothing but carbs and is steadfast in ONLY eating those things, you need to get creative. I started with adding different foods to those items, but in very sneaky ways - then once the reveal was made, it was easier to get past the food phobia because he actually acknowledged liking what he was eating. Our son went from Mac & Cheese, plain cheeseburgers and brown sugar oatmeal to eating Indian, Thai, Hispanic and Mediterranean foods. He also loves fermented foods like kimchi, kraut and beets - YES BEETS!
One of the ways I started was to write out a menu. I would only have the title of dinner, not any ingredients. The rule was, he was not allowed to ask what was in it and he must take 2 bites (and swallow). We had some meltdowns along the way, but, so much more success. I get a particular joy when I see our son grabbing the Tapatio or Bragg amino acid spray, and putting it on his food to enhance the flavors. Several years ago, I never would have pictured him eating anything spicy.
Don't make things a big deal. The best way to serve a new food, whether it's hidden or right there on the plate, is to have a great poker face. Part of the cues of automatically not liking something are your reaction while setting the plate down, constantly observing to detect any hint of like or dislike for the item and I'm convinced our son is sensitive to 'mood' so being tense about the food or over anxious can cause trepidation and a negative outcome. The first time he had tofu, I didn't say anything until the 2nd time I served the same meal.
We would watch Bizarre Foods and I would purchase some of the more tame ingredients at local markets, or even seek them out at the local ethnic markets. Chicken feet, cow tongue, pork innards,...yep we ate them.
I cannot guarantee that my techniques will be successful for you and your child. I can guarantee you will never be successful if you do nothing. Like Yoda said: Do... or do not. There is no try.
Natural vitamins and minerals are better for your body than supplemented kinds.
Balancing diet can have physiological and emotional effects - a well fed body has a well fed mind.
Take the stigma out of phobia foods - you can't like it if you haven't tried it - but be creative about how you say and introduce the new foods.
Is your child's diet affecting their mood, symptoms or behavior? How will you know if you do not slowly experiment?
Eating shouldn't be a task and parents shouldn’t dread the dining table. By encouraging (even if sneaking new items in) different foods, you can make this a fun and educational experience...foods from around the world, new foods by letter of the alphabet. They sky is the limit, you decide how high to go.
This can be a family adventure. Food can be a fun part of your day. Everyone should participate; everyone should choose a new food or country to eat a food from.
This will reinforce good eating habits for all. You want to make sure that your child will know how to make the right food choices if you are not there to guide them. For those who have children with the capacity for independent living, this could be one less